Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

Time for the streaming services to bring in the big guns

Is a verse from Jay Z the kind of competitive edge for Beats Music to get one over on Spotify?

Jimmy Iovine and Dr Dre line up for Beats Music

Fri, Jun 20, 2014, 09:50


The music streaming game just got real. In the battle for paying customers, Beats Music have brought in the real big guns. Forget about Apple, Beats are now hawking a verse by Jay Z on a track as an exclusive for customers. That’s right, a verse on a track.

We hope we’re not the only ones going “huh?” at the idea of a verse from a rapper whose creative juice stopped flowing a while ago giving a commercial service a competitive edge. But Beats Music, the service recently acquired for gazillions of dollars by Apple, think this will help them in the numbers game.

At the time of writing, Beats have 250,000 customers compared to the 10 million claimed by Spotify. You can be sure that Jigga is getting paid well for the gig and that he won’t be the only big name persuaded by Jimmy Iovine, Dr Dre and a big bag of cash to lend the Beats’ campaign some heft.

It’s a straightforward game. Spotify are miles ahead of everyone else in terms of numbers so they’re the ones everyone else wants to beat, even if they’re still very much growing their business. The trick for Beats and their peers is to generate a churn rate from Spotify’s paying customers, while ensuring the Swedes keep bringing new people into the market and educating non-believers about the advantages of streaming. No doubt, all will be keeping a watchful eye on YouTube’s mooted new service.

The problem, though, is that there may be only one winner here. Does the mainstream really need a myriad of different big-box streaming services or will they go ‘sure, I have Spotify, I’m grand’? Will we see one big player and a lot of smaller ones fighting for the scraps? That’s the fear for Iovine and all at Beats and hence why they’re happy for Apple to have their back.